Laughter, music, children and therapy dogs made for the perfect birthday gathering Monday, as Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital celebrated 30 years of healing.
The hospital welcomed former and current patients, their families and others from the community to the first-floor atrium at 7 Medical Park Drive to mark the milestone of the facility that opened in 1983.
“I’d like think that our legacy has been, and will continue to be, that we will continue to transform the type of care that we can provide to children in the state and the Midlands,” said Dr. Caughman Taylor, the hospital’s senior medical director.
Monday’s celebration featured colorful cupcakes and lemonade with music by local children’s band Lunch Money. The hospital mascot, Richie Raccoon, was also on hand as were more than a few friendly therapy dogs. But staff and family members touted the hospital’s compassionate and quality care as its strongest attribute.
The hospital maintains more than 30 medical subspecialties devoted solely to children and has treated more than 2 million infants, children and adolescents from across the state since opening 30 years ago.
“We celebrate the strong support of our community and the contributions of our founding physicians in creating South Carolina’s first pediatric hospital,” Caughman said. “Because of the level of care provided here, families do not have to leave our region to receive top quality care.”
Thad and Elizabeth Chapman recently became acquainted with that care when their 5-year-old daughter, Merritt, was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit for hydrocephalus, which leaves fluid on the brain.
“Everyone has been super attentive and compassionate,” Thad Chapman said.
The couple praised the hospital staff for its efficient and personal care.
“From the second we arrived we were met with urgency,” Elizabeth Chapman said, adding she and her husband have had constant interaction with the doctors since they arrived. “To have that kind of access is a big deal.”
Marian Hall, a pediatric respiratory therapist and one of the hospital’s first employees, said one of the biggest rewards of her job has been the determination she’s seen in young patients.
“Children don’t consider not getting well an option,” Hall said. “They don’t quit. I’m just proud to be a part of the team here.”
Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital treats more than 80,000 sick and injured children each year and Caughman said it’s a responsibility the hospital is grateful to fulfill.
“Being able to take care of someone’s child is the best honor you can be given,” he said. “You’re being trusted to take care of their most prized possession and also our future. It’s not a job. It’s a passion.”